Esther 4:1-17

            Queen Esther was a Jewess.  Normally, this would not have been a problem in the ancient Media-Persian kingdom ruled by Ahasuerus.  But it was not a normal kind of time.  The top aide of King Ahasuerus was an arrogant man, Haman.  Haman so loathed the Jewish people that he connived a way to get the king to issue an edict in which a holocaust of horror would be unleashed against the Jewish people so that they would be destroyed. 
            Esther found herself between the proverbial rock and hard place.  Neither the king nor Haman knew that she was a Jewess.  If she revealed herself, Esther could be killed.  On the other hand, if she used her position and influence in an inappropriate way by entering the king’s presence without being summoned, Esther could be killed.  There was no good option.  But in the kingdom of God, there is always an option.
            Being thrust into an impossible situation through circumstances not created by herself, Queen Esther came to the point of decision:  she would approach the king, but she would do it with all the prayer and fasting of her people behind her.  Esther had all the Jews in her city gathered for a three-day fast on her behalf.  Then, she would face the king and deal with the adversity that she did not ask for.
            When confronted with the face of evil; when dealt a set of circumstances you do not deserve; when hissing tongues breathe slander about you; when there seems to be no possible solution to your problem and no apparent possibility of hope; then, what do you do?  Everyone, at some point in their lives, faces a quandary beyond their ability to handle.  It is at such times, God is at his best.  If we will confidently face those times with all the humility we can muster through devoted fasting and prayer, who knows?  Perhaps God will show up and turn the tables….
            Sovereign God, you see and know all things.  Yet, I don’t always know you are there and I don’t always see you working behind the scenes.  When devious people plot behind my back and situations rise up to my neck, I look to you so that the plans of the wicked will not come to pass.  May the righteous thrive and not be destroyed.  May the mighty name of Jesus prevail.  Amen.

Esther 7:1-10

            If you are anything like me, you have found yourself more than once in a circumstance that is like quicksand.  It is as if you are stuck with no way out.  Queen Esther found herself in such a situation.  By no fault of her own she was thrust upon the stage of being the intercessor between life and death, salvation and elimination.  The wicked Haman, high official to the king, had it out for the Jews and orchestrated a devious plan to do away with them once and for all.
            But God had their backs.  Esther humbly and prayerfully entered the king’s presence on behalf of her people, the Jews.  As a result, the tables were turned with the Jews being joyously delivered and Haman literally finding himself at the end of his rope.  Even though the book of Esther does not once pronounce the name of God, his influence and sovereignty are evident throughout the story.  God seems to specialize in hard cases.  He inevitably gains the glory and his people are wonderfully saved from circumstances well beyond their ability to help themselves.
            Prayer, sensitivity to God, and the humility to listen undergirded Esther’s decision and courage to act.  Prayer is not optional equipment for the believer, but absolutely essential to facing each and every difficult situation because it is God, not us, that ultimately brings deliverance.  Saving ourselves from impossible circumstances is way above our pay grade; only God can bring true deliverance – the kind that genuinely changes people so that divine purposes are accomplished.
            Our discouraging situations; our hard cases; our difficult people problems; whatever the situation – God has your back and he delights to answer our desperate pleas for his deliverance. 
            O God, please work within the hearts of your people so that they will have the courage and commitment to follow through with your will.  Please direct the hearts of those who oppose you and your people so that it is evident there is a God in heaven who listens and who delivers.  For the sake of Jesus I pray, Amen.